In a heated social media thread Wednesday night, tech journalist and cofounder of Vox Media’s annual Code Conference Kara Swisher defended the surprise decision to book former head of Twitter’s trust and safety department Yoel Roth for the event, who appeared an hour before the platform’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino was due to take the stage.
Responding to Axios business editor Dan Primack’s assertion that she “sandbagged” Yaccarino by springing the former executive’s appearance on her, Swisher maintained that upon learning of his booking earlier Wednesday, it was the X CEO’s decision to speak after Roth.
“Their choice [was] they wanted the last word, I guess,” Swisher wrote. “I also sent a text to her and everyone involved early this morning. No one was sandbagged. Yoel was asked a week ago. Do you think I prepped a detailed interview in a hour?”
Swisher then looked back at a number of tech CEOs booked for the conference in the past — from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk — and relayed that “we never promised anything or gave them any heads up. We’re journalists FFS.”
“Good lord, is making CEOs all comfy my job? It is not,” she said.
For his part, X owner and noted troll Musk weighed in on the matter, as well, writing that as far as Swisher’s self-defense, she “should take it easy on the Adderall — foaming at the mouth is just not a good look.”
Roth, who resigned from his position at X (formerly Twitter) in November following Musk’s takeover of the company in October, said at Wednesday’s conference, “I think Twitter comms are really terrified that I’m here to trash the company right before their CEO gets on stage. I promise I’m not.”
But he did have a message for Yaccarino — one that warned against her new boss: “You should be worried. I wish I had been more worried.”
Responding to his warning later in the day, Yaccarino told CNBC interviewer Julia Borrstin, “He doesn’t know me, I don’t know him. I work at X. He worked at Twitter.”
“X is a new company, building a foundation based on free expression and freedom of speech,” she said. “Twitter at the time was operating on a different set of rules.”
Read Swisher’s full X thread on the day’s events in the embed below. She concluded her defense by encouraging concerned parties to “listen for yourself tomorrow on on pod to both interviews and decide for yourself.”
1. She and her PR person knew all day and were also offered to go on before @yoyoel too. Their choice as they wanted the last word, I guess. I also sent a text to her and everyone involved early this morning. No one was sandbagged. Yoel was asked a week ago btw. Do you think I… https://t.co/JgvCORkMHC— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) September 28, 2023
As for the notion that she’s going to have trouble booking high-profile CEOs in the future for Code Conference, Swisher quote-tweeted a particularly vocal Musk supporter, writing, “Oh it’s the giant CEO suck-up sound again. But no we don’t lick powerful execs up and down like some do.”
Then, responding to Musk’s cries of “Adderall,” she wrote, simply: “He’s 52 years old.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly implied that Roth was booked and appeared “minutes” before Yaccarino. Yaccarino’s team asked for and was given an hour between her talk and Roth’s.